Friday, April 20, 2018

In "an FBI zone"

     Got home late last night. There were two messages on my phone answering machine. 
     One was from the FBI. On the recording, a friendly and intelligent-sounding fellow, Special Agent E, said that he wanted to talk to me about some information I might have. He left his number.
     That was odd. I tried to think what this could be about. I came up with nothing.
     This morning, just after 8:00, I called Special Agent E. He answered.
     “Oh, great. Thanks for getting back to me so soon,” he said, chirpily.
     “Sure. What’s up?” I asked.
     “We got an anonymous tip that you’ve been posting on &#! (some kind of site), claiming to be the Night Stalker killer and the Golden State killer.”
     “I’ve been posting where?”
     “&#!,” he repeated.
     “Never heard of it. And I’ve certainly never made such claims—there or anywhere else.”
     “Yeah, I hear you. But we’ve got to run this stuff down. It's our job. Could you come down to the office so we can get your DNA? That way we can exclude you. We’d sure appreciate it!”
     “Yeah, sure, I guess,” I said. “But the County already has my DNA. Why don’t you just get it from them?” (Years ago, I got a big ticket—expired Drivers License—and was offered a deal: agree to add my DNA in the County system and the infraction would disappear. I said, “OK.”)
     “Yeah, well, we’re the FBI, so, no, you’ll have to come to our office and do it again.”
     We agreed that we'd meet at noon. The FBI office is in Orange, near the Theo Lacy Facility (jail). He said he’d call back to confirm. 
     After an hour, we determined that our meeting would have to be postponed to 1:30.
     “See you then!” he said. “If I’m not here, ask for Special Agent S, OK?”
     “OK,” I said.
     “And thanks for cooperating!”

     At 10:00, I left for a meeting of the School of Humanities. On the agenda was a demonstration of a contraption we’re supposed to use to move wheelchair-bound folks down the stairs during an emergency. I was looking forward to that bit of fun.
     During the rest of the meeting, colleagues expressed annoyance and frustration over various events and situations on campus. We're a pretty disgruntled group.
     I really laid into that cluster fuck called the “Guided Pathways” initiative:
     “It’s demoralizing, at this late stage of my teaching career,” I said, “to keep having to deal with idiotic and counterproductive state and accreditation mandates and initiatives.” I explained that virtually everyone—even the janitors—are being pulled into committees and workgroups to help develop “Guided Pathways,” which, we’re told, is only for “some students,” and yet this damned thing is obviously some kind of full court press, as far as administrators are concerned.
     “It seems clear,” I said, “that no one on campus has any idea what this Pathways thing is supposed to be or how it’s supposed to work. Many, including me, are sure it’s a massive waste of time and money. 
     “Again,” I said.

     At just after 1:00, I left IVC for Orange, taking the 5 to the 55 and then to the 22. 
     The FBI office is right across the street from what used to be called “The Block.” It’s in a dreary building that once housed ITT Technical Institute—no one has bothered to remove the lettering out front. The Bureau apparently keeps 110 employees there, though I sure didn't see them.
     I went up to the second floor and followed a sign. I found a door to the FBI reception area. It was locked. I looked around. There was a switch on the wall. I flipped it. After a few seconds, I heard a voice over an intercom.
     “What’s your name?”
     I gave it and the unseen Fed remotely unlocked the door. Upon opening it, I confronted a large metal detectorthe kind you see at Federal buildings and courthouses. I walked through it to a smallish waiting room. The receptionist was standing behind a glass wall and counter. Through the glass, he asked me to sit down and wait.
     I looked around a bit. There were several “most wanted” posters on a wall. Very cool. One posting explained that those who enters “an FBI Zone” must have no camera equipment, recording equipment, wi-fi equipment, or any kind of electronics. 
     I didn’t have any of that.
     Pretty soon, Special Agents E and S came out and greeted me. They were informally dressed and friendly. We shook hands and smiled. They had me walk through the metal/gun detector again. They asked me to removed my keys. Metal was detected again.
     “It’s OK,” said Agent S.
     They had me sit down where I had been sitting (outside, I guess, the “FBI Zone”). 
     “This’ll only take five minutes,” said Agent S. Agent E started fumbling with the DNA equipment. There were three swabs.
     “Have you heard about these crimes?” asked Agent S.
     “Didn’t they catch the Night Stalker years ago? He died in prison, right?” I said.
     Agent E stuck a swab into my right cheek.
     “Yeah, but this crime concerns the original Night Stalker, who's also called the Golden State Killer.”
     According to Wikipedia,

     The Golden State Killer is a media epithet for an unidentified serial killerserial rapist, and serial burglar who committed 50 rapes in Northern California during the mid-1970s and murdered 12 people in Southern California from 1979 through 1986. Other monikers include the Original Night Stalker, East Area Rapist, the East Bay Rapist, and the Diamond Knot Killer.
     The crimes initially centered on the then unincorporated areas of CarmichaelCitrus Heights and Rancho Cordova, all east of Sacramento, where at least fifty women were raped between June 18, 1976, and July 5, 1979. ... In 2001, several of the Northern California rapes were linked by DNA to murders in Southern California. All of the DNA-linked assaults occurred in Contra Costa County but the distinctive modus operandi (MO) of the rapist makes it very likely the same man was also responsible for the attacks in the Sacramento area. His last known crime, the only one after 1981, took place in 1986.
     The Golden State Killer has never been apprehended….

     “Do you have any idea why someone would accuse you of claiming to be this killer?” asked Agent S.
     “It could be political,” I said. I told Agents E and S about publishing a newsletter years ago (Dissent) that criticized the college President where I work—and the corrupt faculty union that placed a group of right-wing morons—Steve Frogue, John Williams, Dorothy Fortune, and Teddi Lorch—on  the district Board. I made some enemies, I guess (I said). At one point, someone “informed” the board that I was a fraud; I had no Philosophy degree. On another occasion, someone sent sex equipment to my office. 
     The IVC cops got quite a kick out of that.
     Special agent E—a lawyer, S told me—stuck a swab into my other cheek. I waited.
     “Nowadays," I said, “I’ve got a blog, and I’m guessing that some reader got steamed about my criticisms of our current college president, a real jackass.”
     “A real jackass, eh?" said E.
     "Yeah. A real jackass."
     "Maybe it’s an ex-student?” asked S.
     “Naw, don’t think so,” I said. 
     After a few seconds I suggested that it's a shame that the FBI has to waste its time with these so-called “tips.” 
     “Well, we’ve got to check ‘em all out,” said Agent S. “It's our job.
     “It would be kinda ironic,” I said, “if I were this killer. I teach Ethics and I’m a goddam Eagle Scout.
     S looked at me.
     “So you know how to tie knots,” said Agent S.
     “Well, yeah. Fucking Boy Scout knots.”
     It was an odd moment. Agent E poked me with one last swab.
     The moment passed. The two agents thanked me again and I got up and walked to the door, careful not to bump into the massive metal detector.
     “It’s been exotic,” I said. “Good luck finding your killer.”

     I headed downstairs and stood just outside the building, near where it says “ITT Technical Institute,” not “FBI.” 
     It was a beautiful day. Just to the left, I could see the CashCall building towering before me. 
     It’s pretty damned ugly, that "CashCall."
     I could also see the Crystal Cathedral a mile or so off to the west. My in-laws came to OC once—maybe 25 years ago—and made a point of visiting that stupid place.
     The Crystal Cathedral went bust. Nowadays, it’s owned by the Roman Catholic Church. They're calling it "Christ Cathedral."
     “More assholes,” I thought.     

     A couple hours later, I briefly spoke with my little bro, who came to watch over my mom tonight.
     I told him my FBI story. 
     He was amazed.
     "I used to work in that building," he said, after a while.
     "You mean the 'ITT Technical Institute' building?"
     "Yeah. I recall that ugly CashCall building across the street."
     "And that stupid Crystal Cathedral?"
     The sun was going down. Here in the canyon.
     All in all, a good day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

IVC's new "School of IDEA." We kid you not.

200 people "came together." It was "spectacular"

     We here at IVC received this email today from the President's Office:
South Orange County Community College District Dedicates First Building at the Advanced Technology and Education Park

Officially Marking the Opening of Irvine Valley College’s School of Integrated Design, Engineering and Automation (IDEA) 
Over 200 people came together to mark the grand opening of the Integrated Design, Engineering and Automation (IDEA) building at the Advanced Technology and Education Park (ATEP) in Tustin. Following the ceremony, guests interacted with exhibits from community partners and programs within the School of IDEA.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to today’s spectacular event. The event would not have been possible without the teamwork that took place. It truly was an effort of the entire college and district to get the building ready for the celebration. 
     So was it the opening of the School? Or the opening of the building for the School?
     As usual, the President's Office doesn't know the difference. And doesn't care.
     Whose idea was it to name the new School (and building) "IDEA"? Glenn?
     Bad IDEA.
     I recall much groaning about that moniker at Academic Senate meetings a while back.
     There's a rumor that Saddleback's new building out at ATEP will house the new School of WTF. They haven't yet decided what the letters stand for.

A "filmmakers' village," but not at ATEP - DtB, December 2, 2011

Secret ugly stuff

Enquiring minds wanna know: just what is going on at the SOCCCD?
Actually, it was a Tuesday MORNING:

It must be great having principles

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"District officials have declined to provide details..."

Saddleback College faculty perplexed over sudden departure of school president Gregory Anderson
(OC Reg)
     A day after officials at Saddleback College announced President Gregory Anderson had been replaced by Acting President James Buysse, two internal emails have provided the only bits of information, leaving confusion among employees, a faculty representative said. . . . The scant information has left the 400 full-time and 1,400 part-time employees at the 25,000-student college confused, said Mark Blethen, president of the South Orange County College District Faculty Association, representing faculty at Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges.
     “The only statements that have come out have been the very vague emails,” he said. . . . “We were all blind-sided by it,” he said. “The timing is odd that it comes so close to the end of the semester. . . . “We’re all puzzled,” Blethen said. “I’ve had a lot of calls from faculty.” . . . District officials have declined to provide details about Anderson’s departure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Good start! Now keep going!

Anderson: brief tenure
[UPDATE: 8:00 p.m. Wednesday:
     A reliable colleague and faculty leader has offered us the following picture of our sister college to the south right now. Early yesterday morning, he or she or it says, Anderson was roughly ushered off campus, leaving the college in the hands of someone still wearing his newbie name tag and wielding a temp parking sticker. Our source seems to think that administrative leadership at Saddleback is experiencing collapse or failure. 
     Trumpian chaos?! Administrative perp walks?!
     This cheered us up immensely. —RB]


     Early this afternoon, there was a buzz on the top floor of Liberal Arts at IVC. People were saying that the President of Saddleback College had been “fired.”
     I looked at the email that was the apparent source of this alleged factoid:
Dear Colleagues,

Please note the temporary appointment of Dr. James Buysse as the Acting President of Saddleback College pending further consideration by the Board of Trustees. Effective immediately, please address any college issues directly with Dr. Buysse.

It is my hope and expectation that the entire Saddleback College community will come together and assist Dr. Buysse in his role as Acting President.


Thomas M. Fallo
Interim Chancellor
James Buysse: temp
     “There’s nothing here about Anderson getting fired,” I told the Reb.
     “Maybe he’s ill. Maybe there’s some emergency,” I added.
     “Well, he does live up in the Bay Area somewhere,” said the Reb.
     “He comes down south a few days a week.”
     We left it at that.
     But hope was in the air. Heads rolling? Could it be?
     I made some inquiries and learned that some at Saddleback received this email this afternoon (eventually we got it too):
Dear Colleagues,

This morning Dr. Gregory Anderson submitted the following resignation:
Dear Saddleback Community,

After discussions with district leadership, I have submitted my resignation as president of Saddleback College. In these past few months, you have shown me that this is a great institution, with a deep commitment to the students and their communities. Personal circumstances require me to return immediately to my home in the Bay Area, but I will remain forever grateful to all of you for this opportunity to serve.

Chance. Fallo
Thank you to Dr. Anderson for his leadership and service, and we all agree with his assessment that Saddleback College is an excellent college distinguished by highly qualified faculty, staff, and administrators who are fully committed to the success of our students. During this time of transition, Dr. Jim Buysse will serve as acting president.

The board of trustees will begin the search for a permanent president for Saddleback College. Additional information on the search process will be provided as it becomes available.

Thomas M. Fallo
Interim Chancellor
     Dang. Once again, hope is dashed.
Permanent IVC. Prez Roquemore
     I had been planning to post something like this:
Anderson fired?
Good start! Now keep going!
     Anderson had been on the job for fewer than six months.
     We had heard some bad things about the fellow in recent months. More bad leadership.
     Naturally, we do hope everyone's OK.
     But firing Roquemore would please lots of folks up here in Irvine.
     16 fucking years of that idiot.

UPDATE (April 11; 5:00 p.m.):
     Got a call from a colleague at Saddleback last night. He or she or it expressed skepticism about this "resignation" story.
     "We've heard rumors for some time about @#%," they said.
     Another friend who works at Saddleback proclaimed that there was "zero information" about the resignation at the district and college. People down there seem to have no idea what happened. Anderson resigned, I guess. But why? Why all of a sudden? Why not give some account of the reason(s)? Why announce the replacement before announcing the resignation?
     It's pretty odd.
     Got a call today from a Lariat reporter. I didn't get her name. She asked me to elaborate on my negatory remarks of yesterday.
     "Nope," I said.
     So you hear things. From whom?
     "Not sayin'," I said.

     In any case, we here at Dissent urge district leadership to consider firing Glenn Roquemore. It's been nearly 16 years. We've had enough. So can 'im.
     —If not, please explain your apparent decision to make GLENN ROQUEMORE the only permanent college president in the state of California.
     WTF is up with that? Just what is the matter with you people?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Community Colleges to the Rescue!

Middle-Class Families Increasingly Look to Community Colleges
(NYT, APRIL 5, 2018)
With college prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, more
middle-class families are looking for ways to spend less for quality education.

PASADENA, Calif. — When top students from the sun-dappled suburbs that surround Pasadena, Calif., graduate from high school, they are expected to go to colleges that are prestigious, pricey and often far away. Last year, seniors from La Cañada High School, one of the highest rated in the state, fanned across the country to M.I.T., the University of Michigan and Yale.
     But 18-year-old Annie Shahverdian, the daughter of a commercial real estate agent and a nursing administrator, started her higher ed journey closer to home, 15 minutes down the road at the local community college. To save money, she is planning to spend two years at Pasadena City College, a two-year public institution, before heading to what she hopes will be a top four-year university where she will earn her bachelor’s degree.
     “My parents don’t want to just throw money around now,” Ms. Shahverdian said as she walked across Pasadena’s 53-acre campus, heading toward her English class. “I’m getting a great education at a fraction of the cost.”
     Community colleges have long catered to low-income students who dream of becoming the first in their families to earn a college degree. And for many, that remains their central mission. But as middle- and upper-middle-class families like the Shahverdians face college prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, more of them are looking for ways to spend less for their children’s quality education.... continue reading  

In "an FBI zone"

     Got home late last night. There were two messages on my phone answering machine.       One was from the FBI. On the recording, a ...